Love Makes All the Difference

another week of teaching has started. and i find myself looking forward to it. it’s exciting to see new life enter into this camp. this is an entirely new and different experience for them.

i hope that i can make them feel right at home. i have learned more and more that kids need love. they need love in order to grow and mature. each and every single person has so much potential if we only give them the encouragement and love that they need.

just think of the people in your life who have shown you love and pushed you forward. those people were important to you being the person that you are today, right? can you imagine who you would be without those people in your life? you wouldn’t be the same, would you?

so these kids. they need people who love and support them. i don’t know where they are coming from. i don’t know their stories. they will only be with me for a week, not even that, before going back to their schools. it is really such a short amount of time when you consider the entirety of their lives.

but life is made up of moments, millions of little moments. and all it takes is one moment. just think of those few moments that had such an impact on you that you still remember them vividly. that’s how life is. just because time is short, doesn’t mean that i shouldn’t put forth all the effort that i can give to make it meaningful.

“give your complete attention to these matters. throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.”

-1 timothy 4:15

so that’s what i want to do. i want to give all the love and encouragement that i can give these kids. every moment counts. they may not remember me. they may not remember this week. will that stop me? no, because you never know whose life you are going to impact. and i most likely won’t see how it impacts them.

but that is not what is important. what’s important is that i do my best to show them all the love and support that i can. what more can i do? that’s all i can do and it is worth it. they could forget everything, but i don’t think they’ll easily forget the love that was shown to them.

love makes all the difference.

so i hope that you have people in your life that you can rely upon for encouragement and love. and i hope that you can be the kind of person who loves and supports those who need it.

no matter what your situation, you can always rely on God. he is only true constant in your life. his love and encouragement are never ending.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

Love Crosses Barriers

last week i completed my first week of teaching English.

wow.

where to even begin?

i was nervous. afraid. how do i teach kids when i don’t even know their language? will they really listen to me, some stranger from another country? i’m so new. what if i make a mistake? will i be any good at teaching? what if i’m awful at it? what if i hate this?

there were so many nerves going into last week. so many times the thought went through my head: i’m not ready; i’ll never be ready. but just when you want time to slow down and the day to never come, it seems that time only speeds up. monday came.

and with monday came my first class.

i work at a camp. so kids come in from nearby schools on monday morning and stay until friday afternoon. then the next week there’s a new group of kids. not every week do we have camp though, there are a few office weeks here and there.

class went well. it wasn’t as awkward as i thought it was going to be. most of the kids seemed to be very energetic. they looked like they were actually having some fun, even if they were shy.

and as i taught more and more classes throughout the week i found my enjoying it. i even started to look forward to my classes. outside of class, the kids started to warm up to me. during break times, we would play games or sing songs or draw together.

even though i know barely any chinese and they have very limited english, they still were willing to spend time with me. they didn’t care so much about the language barrier. somehow, those “barriers” just…didn’t exist. yes, it was still hard when they would say something and i didn’t have a clue. but that didn’t stop us from having fun.

so i found myself trying to spend every moment that i had with the kids. i knew that each moment was a blessing. time is short, especially here at camp. i wanted to hold tight to every single moment with these precious kids and make it last forever.

but i don’t get forever. nothing is guaranteed.

friday arrived. and i was giving the closing speech, i just started crying. i couldn’t even speak for a minute. even if i wasn’t an emotional person (which i am), seeing so many of the kids crying just took me over the top. i couldn’t take it. i was able to finish my speech, through many tears, but it hurt. it hurt to see them leave.

i miss their smiles. i miss their laughter. i miss hearing “hello teacher gabi!” when i walk by. i miss getting those “high fives.” i miss all the hugs. a few even told me “i love you”. just writing this makes me want to cry all over again.

my point is, you don’t have know the language to be able to love. love requires action. if you show that love, people will know, whether or not they speak the same language. i think those kids know that i love them. and i know that they love me.

maybe if we spend a little more time showing our love, the world might change a bit for the better.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

On to a New Adventure

it is finally happening.

i’m setting out onto a new adventure! something totally different from anything i’ve ever done before.

where am i going?

taiwan.

what will i be doing?

volunteering by helping kids learn english.

how long will i be there?

a little over eleven months.

it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? even for me it is hard to believe.

if you know anything about me, you know that i love to travel. you might have even seen my post about that. this time will be different though. this won’t be like the missions trip i went on or all the vacations i’ve taken to foreign countries. this time, i’ll be permanently living there.

the idea of living in a foreign country over nine thousand miles away thrills and terrifies me at the same time.


well, it has been awhile since i started writing this post. and believe it or not, i am in taiwan.

it hasn’t even been that long and i feel like i’ve been here for weeks. so much has happened in such a short amount of time it just doesn’t feel real.

i’m still dealing with some jet lag (for some reason, i just can’t seem to sleep in at all.). the number of different kinds of food that i’ve had here probably number more than the different kinds of food i’ve had over my entire life.

okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. but still, almost everything that i have had here is something different.

in all honesty, it has been a bit overwhelming. there is so much to take in. too much. i mean, it is good. great even! but it is a lot.

maybe this is what culture shock is. in all my travels, i have never experienced culture shock so i don’t know. maybe this is what it feels like though.

jet lag doesn’t help, but either way, i’ve felt consistently exhausted. there have been multiple times that i’ve zoned out or nodded off during the day. (i have had so many embarrassing moments.) and my sleeping habits often don’t leave feeling well rested.

i still go in and out of feeling so excited and loving it here to feeling absolutely terrified and thinking i am crazy.

askdjhflsadkjflaksjhfekjshldf.

there are so many feelings and thoughts and things going through my head right now. i can’t really process it all.

but i’m doing alright. things are going well. i’m learning so much and having fun while i’m at it. i know there will be hardships, but i i think this year will see a lot of growth in me too. in the end, i think it will all be worth it.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

have you ever experienced culture shock? or have you ever lived abroad for a extended period of time? let me know!

Word of the Year: Trust

did anyone else choose a word for the year?

i first heard about choosing a word for the year around the end of last year. and i found it to be a very fascinating idea.

for one, it’s not really defined with any set list of requirements or “must do’s.” so there’s a lot of freedom in that. personally, i love the freedom to make something your own.

but without defined terms or rules, it does open the door for that word to come in and be a part of more situations than you would think possible.

of course, i know that there’s a lot of things that happens in one’s life in the space of one year. not everything is going to be focused around that one word. but you will be surprised how many different circumstances and situations that one word does cover and effect.

anyways, those are just my thoughts on choosing a word for the year. as i’m sure you’ve already guess by this point, i chose a word for the year. since this is my first time trying to do this, we’ll see how it goes.

i wanted to talk a bit about my word for this year. trust.

a lot of things happened in 2018 that made me realize that trust is something that I really need to work on. trust is something that i don’t have a lot of, especially when talking about God.

trust is important. in fact, it’s essential. in fact, it is an crucial cornerstone in having a strong relationship with God. more than that, salvation itself requires trust.

in many cases, i’ve found that trust and faith go hand in hand. faith is “complete trust or confidence in someone or something” and trust is “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” they are both very similar in my opinion.

then as a christian, i should have the whole trust and faith thing down pat, right?

no.

definitely not.

as i have learned in the past year, i have a real hard time with trust. i’m quick to rely only on myself. a lot of the stress i deal with comes from there being no trust. everything is on me. i need to complete this. i need to somehow make this happen. etc. etc. etc.

and this brings me back to a point i made in my last post.

God is in control.

it is easier to say than to believe. this doesn’t mean that you can sit back and just believe that God will make happen what needs to happen. trust requires effort made from both sides.

and i’m not going to say that there is going to come a point in your life where you’re going to be able to say that you trust God in everything. i think for most of us (if not all) trusting God is going to be a constant work-in-progress. we’re going to have to continue to push to believe that everything is in God’s hands.

that constant effort is worth it though. to know that you are not in control of your life, but God is. what a relief that is.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

did you choose a word for the year? please, comment below! i’d love to hear from you!

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

i like to have direction.

don’t you?

isn’t it nice to have an idea of where you’re going? to have the path laid out in front of you? to know that this is where i’ll be at this point in time?

in reality, life is hardly ever like that. those people with their five or ten year plan, i applaud them. i can’t even imagine making a month plan, much less a ten year plan.

because more often than not, life seems to have a mind of its own. it throws things at us that we would have never expected. where i am right now is somewhere i would have never imagined for myself a year ago.

there’s hardly a time when i know what life is going to look like in a few months. i jump at the opportunities that pop up and seem to align with my passions. those kind of things just pop up though. there’s no telling when and where they’ll show up. so ultimately, i’m just taking things as they come. of course, there are certain things (like school) that i have an idea of where i want to be at certain times, but i don’t have much faith that they’ll turn out exactly the way that i think they will.

sometimes, this feeling of uncertainty, this feeling of no direction, terrifies me. what am i going to do with my life? how am i going to make a difference? God gave me this life. what’s his purpose for me? my fear of wasting my life is sometimes so daunting that it stops me from doing anything in the first place.

i feel like i’m caught up in this constant fight with myself. i have so many dreams and passions that i feel like i should do something with. there is so much that i would like to do, but the list is intimidating. and the fear of the unknown, the fear of doing the “wrong thing” and wasting my life is scary. not even knowing where to start is just another reason to not even try.

but you know, it’s okay to not know where you’re going.

it’s okay to have so many dreams and passions that you feel properly swamped by them.

it’s okay to be scared, because true bravery is acting out in spite of the fear.

it’s okay because your life is not your own. your life is God’s.

“don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? you do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. so you must honor God with your body.”

-1 corinthians 6:19-20

and God is in control.

God has a plan for you and he’ll make sure that you fulfill that plan. all you have to do is make sure he’s at the center of your life.

take those passions you have, take those big dreams and start small. God gave you those passions, those dreams. it may seem insignificant right now, but everything has to start somewhere. if you follow them, they will lead you to where you need to be.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

what are some of your passions? what are some of your dreams that seem so unrealistic, but you dream anyways?

Why I Love to Travel

if traveling is a passion, it is definitely one of my biggest passions.

i’ve discovered this passion only in about the last year, but it has unexpectedly blossomed so much in that small amount of time.

i don’t think there has been a moment in this past year that i haven’t had my next trip planned or my next flight booked. in just this year i’ve been to more places than i can count on one hand, possibly two hands.

i love traveling. but why do i love it?

i have so many answers to this question. so many it’s probably ridiculous. but let me just begin.

the people.

every single person is different. and that factor becomes increasingly more noticeable when traveling a far distance. i love people. i love engaging them and hearing their stories. each person has a unique story. they each have their own struggles and hardships. some people one meets turn into longlasting friendships, while other people one meets only in that instance. still, even that one instance can make an impression and leave memories of it to last for who knows how long.

the stories.

since we were already on about how each person has their own story, let’s discuss stories. people’s stories are incredible things. they can inspire, encourage, and motivate. they can also teach important life lessons. of course, if we’re truthful, they can also do harm. but that is often not the case.

more than other people’s stories, one creates their own stories when traveling. i have so many stories from traveling. some are scary. some are funny. while others are just really neat once-in-a-lifetime kind of stories. stories like that can’t ever be replicated. that becomes your story and anyone else’s who shared it with you. nothing exactly like that will happen again.

the destination.

of course, a big part of traveling is going to see “the place.” there are trips that people do with no destination in mind (those are cool too) but usually people have some kind of destination in mind.

i love going to different places because no place is exactly the same and in most cases they are drastically different. from rocky beaches to sandy beaches to no beaches at all. from mountains to hills to land that is flat as far as the eye can see. from ancient art to medieval art to romantic art. from gothic architecture to baroque architecture to neoclassicism architecture. the list goes on and on. each is unique and fascinating in its own way.

the culture.

personally, culture is one of the most important reasons that i love to travel. people live such different lives. going to different places really shows that. what do people spend the most time doing? what is most important to them? how do they spend their free time? what do they believe? all these questions and more give one just a glimpse into their worldview and the lifestyle that they lead.

seeing different cultures makes me so grateful and thankful for what i have. i have many freedoms that i easily take for granted, but when i see other cultures i have more of an appreciation for them. it gives me an awareness. in other cases, i find myself wanting to acquire different practices from different cultures into my own life. there are good and bad things within every culture. not one is perfect.

the food.

let me just admit it right here and now. i am a foodie. i love food. food is always a priority for me wherever i go. i’m always ready to try a different kind of food (unless it is bugs, not sure i’ll ever be ready to try that). trying people’s food is a great conversation starter. you can get to know people and start to learn about their culture. there is a lot to learn from people by the food that they make.

if food is a way into a person’s heart, it certainly is true for me. there are so many different kinds of food out in the world. spices and flavors that i have never heard of, much less actually tried. i can only hope to try them when and where i can.

i am sure that i could come up with many more reasons as to why i love to travel, but i’ll stop here. if you made it this far, i applaud you!

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

do you love to travel? what are some of your most important reasons for traveling? i’d love to hear from you!

Hello

whether you’ve come from either two of my previous blogs (here or here) or you’re entirely new and have never seen me before, hi!

welcome to my mess.

seriously, i’m quite the mess.

but aren’t we all in some way or form?

no one is perfect.

even still, we are significant.

we have the ability to change lives and make a difference.

so even in my mess i aspire to create change, the kind of change that has an impact in others.

i hope that this blog will be a place where you can find hope, encouragement, and inspiration. or, at least, you’ll get a laugh out of it.

because it is here that i hope to share my thoughts, travels, and all the mistakes i make and the lessons i learn in between.

i hope that you’ll join me as i grow and change. life is hard, i know. but i hope that my words will bring you comfort, even if it’s only a bit.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi